Pilot Child Welfare System Redesign
Strategic Action Plan
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5.2 Family Services In-Home Service Plans
The Family Services Caseworker shouldn’t have to choose between assessing a new child assault case or conducting a weekly visit to a family with a child who has been assaulted. Those are two separate jobs, two separate positions, and should be handled by two separate people.
For the initial assessment, the Caseworker needs to be decisive and in command of the situation following the exit of Law Enforcement. Quick decisions and gut instincts need to be prime qualities for these tasks.
However, administering and monitoring In-Home programs and services require “softer” skills, such as care, compassion, persuasion, and comfort with repetition.
If comparing Family Services assessment and In-Home Services with a hospital, the Caseworker would be the Doctor making decisions, prescribing treatments, medications, and procedures, etc. The Nurse carries out the Doctor’s orders, with compassion and a soothing “bedside manner” to ease the patient’s fears and concerns.
It is at this point in the process flow that the Caseworker’s duties shift to “overseer” of the case, and another Family Services worker is brought in, debriefed by the Caseworker, and takes over the child’s case plan, which has been recorded on the Family Services app and transmitted to the Family Services database and the Law Enforcement database.
Note that, in most cases when the child is removed from the home by Law Enforcement, the family receives In-Home Services to prepare for the reunification of the child into the home once it is safe for the child. When child assault/battery or criminal neglect has been found in the home, the child is never left in the home without a Child Safety Plan in addition to the Family In-Home Services plans.
The In-Home Services process flow is outlined below. As stated above, the child may or may not be in the family home when the family receives In-Home Services. Both scenarios will be presented in this process flow.
5.2.1 Family Services Worker arrives at the location
Requests from the Caseworkers for a Family Services Worker are routed first by availability and nearest location, although the Caseworker can request a specific Family Services Worker or a Family Services Worker with a specific skill (e.g., speaks Spanish).
The Family Services Worker will have received the child’s case file via the Family Services phone app, is aware of the situation, knows whether the child will or will not be in the home, and understands what In-Home Services are to be provided for the family, in addition to appropriate Safety Plans when the child remains at home.
5.2.2 Caseworker and Family Services Worker introduce family
This is the handoff to the Family Services Worker. However, the child and family are given the name and phone number of the Caseworker to call whenever needed.
5.2.3 Family Services Worker introduces family to programs and services
The Caseworker remains while the Family Services Worker introduces the family to the programs and services specified in the Family In-Home Services plan. When the Caseworker leaves to return to the office, the Caseworker alerts the Family Services phone app that they are available for 911 calls again. Some examples of In-Home Services plans include drug and alcohol abuse treatment, stress reduction methods, job-hunting assistance, TANF, food stamps, etc.
5.2.4 Family Services Worker visits family weekly to discuss progress
The Family Services database automatically schedules the next appointments into the Family Services Worker’s work calendar to ensure that the visits occur on schedule (or random as required) and any conflicts with meetings, etc., are worked around. Family Services database monitoring of family visits also makes accurate reporting of number and length of visits easier for federal agencies and creating annual reports.
To submit questions or comments, please email Jo@Jo-Calk.com. I welcome all input, ideas, and suggestions. Thank you for caring for children.